I am the first to admit that I prefer reading historical fiction. But not all in the genre is the same. The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang is a tale that takes on a dark slice of New York’s history. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy at no charge for my honest review. This is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Kang. A Beautiful Poison was also a bit dark and also very good.
About The Impossible Girl:
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 18, 2018)
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.
Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.
Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.
Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death.
About the Author:
Lydia Kang is a physician and the author of A Beautiful Poison. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine. She currently lives in the Midwest with her family, where she continues to practice internal medicine. Visit her at www.lydiakang.com.
Connect with Lydia
Cora is a child of a reckless mother and an unknown father. Her mother dies after giving birth to her and the doctor who had come to help examines the baby and notices something unusual – a second heartbeat. He calls her an impossible girl and one who probably will not live – but Cora does just that. But having such an abnormality during a time when P.T. Barnum is promoting the unusual and other “museums” are displaying the bodies of unusual bodily features. She finds there is a price on her….hearts.
To protect her when she was young Cora’s guardians dressed her and told everyone she was a boy. She has kept the persona of Jacob to help with her business of grave robbing or as it is known – being a resurrectionist. She has a crew and they are one of the best out there are finding the unusual bodies for the medical school. Then one night a stranger muscles his way into the gang. No one really trusts him at first but he is offering more money so….
But things soon start taking a dangerous turn as people start dying – unnaturally. These are people that Cora had been watching for their potential but none of them were unhealthy. Soon the tension ratchets up as the rumors of the girl with two hearts start to swirl and unprecedented amounts of money are offered for her body. She doesn’t know who she can trust.
Oh, this was a dark book. A touch creepy too. But oh, so good. It is loosely based in fact as graves were robbed in New York to feed the medical schools’ needs to teach the doctors. Ms. Kang really knows how to develop her world and it’s so very easy to get lost in it. This is an unsavory world for sure but you come to really care for the characters in it.
It is a book that traverses many aspects of New York from the upper class world of Cora’s mother to the seedy underbelly of the slums and whorehouses. It’s a story of the haves and have nots so it’s timely in its own way. But what it is most of all is a story of love and life, loss and betrayal and ultimately of survival. There were so many unexpected twists – I don’t often get caught like I did in this book and it was something. I didn’t want to stop reading and I didn’t want the reading to stop.
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